Welcome to the website of the Montreal folkgrass trio Steel Rail. Strong original material, superb three-part harmonies and hot picking have helped Tod Gorr, Ellen Shizgal and Dave Clarke win a loyal fan base in Central Canada. After almost a decade of living on opposite ends of the continent, the threesome are back together in Quebec, making new acoustic music that reflects the best of the folk, bluegrass and country traditions.

Check out their new album, Coming Home.

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A profile by our friends at Penguin Eggs 

Thanks to Roddy Campbell, publisher of the Canadian folk Bible Penguin Eggs, and one of our favourite writers, Patrick Langston, for a profile of the band in the magazine's Autumn 2020 edition. 

The article is headlined "After an extended hiatus, Montreal trio returns with their state-of-the-art folkgrass," and it's written by Patrick Langston, one of Canada's most astute observers of the acoustic music scene.

Patrick cites the album's "terrific material" as he talks to Tod, Ellen and Dave; as usual, his writing is full of keen insights and authority (yes, we're prejudiced!). 

A shout-out also to Roddy, who has been publishing Penguin Eggs and shining a light on Canada's folk scene for a couple of decades. As Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio's The Next Chapter, has said: “Penguin Eggs is profound, and analytical, and contextual, and fun. It’s really great.”

We'd certainly recommend Penguin Eggs if you are interested in Canadian folk. Check their website for back copies. Thanks again to Roddy and Patrick for the insightful profile.

Beautiful day, beautiful festival 

Thanks to everyone who came out on a balmy fall day to see us perform at the Hudson Music Festival in Hudson, Que., on Sunday afternoon.

There were lots of mask-wearing friends old and new at the show in the airy Alibi Barn on Main Road. The show was recorded by MAtv 609, télévision régionale du Grand Châteauguay, de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, du Haut-St-Laurent, du Roussillon, du Jardin-de-Napierville et de Beauharnois for broadcast later this fall.

Tod, Ellen and Dave played material from the new album, Coming Home, along with some old favourites (Prairie Sky and What My Mother Saw were highlights) as well as a couple of brand new songs: Nebraska in My Dreams and The Comet.

Thanks to organizers Blair MacKay and Lynda Clouette-MacKay, who programmed the festival -- what a treat to join Rob Lutes and KORA Flamenca in the lineup. It was magical to watch a  nearly full moon rise in the indigo sky to the sounds of kora and flamenco guitar Sunday night.

Please stay tuned for details of the MAtv broadcasts, and a big shout-out to the sponsors, including Caisse Desjardins de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Patrimoine Canada, the town of Hudson and MAtv.


Come see us at the Hudson Music Festival Sept. 27 

We're delighted to say we will be performing in Hudson, QC, on Sunday, Sept. 27 as part of the Hudson Music Festival!

The show is between 3 and 5 p.m. at the Alibi Room Barn, 420 Main Road. Tickets are free, but seating is limited (only 50 seats) because of social distancing parameters.

You can reserve tickets at the festival's Facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

Roots Music Canada turns spotlight on Steel Rail  

In July, Roots Music Canada correspondent Jan Vanderhorst had a long chat with guitarist Dave Clarke for an article on the website, which is dedicated to Canadian folk, roots, blues and world music.

His article, headlined "After a decade apart and a cancer scare, it’s a sweet reunion for Steel Rail," delves into some of the twists and turns in Dave's life during his nine-year sojourn in Western Canada.

The article also looks at the band's songwriting, including the collaborations on the Coming Home, and the musical partnership between Dave and his wife Lucinda. 

As for Dave's return to Quebec -- the "Coming Home" of the new album's title -- Dave tells Jan, "It’s as much a family as a band, you might say at this point.”

You can read the entire interview on the Roots Music Canada website here.

Canadian Spaces radio program features Steel Rail 

Chris White is a pillar of the Canadian folk scene -- a former festival organizer, manager and folk DJ who has been a friend of Steel Rail and hundreds of Canadian musicians for a couple of decades from his home in the Capital Region.

We were honoured to be invited to talk to him on his CKCU show Canadian Spaces. You can hear the results on Saturday, July 4, from 10 to noon. Bonus: the show also features one of our favourite singer-songwriters, the brilliant Lynn Miles, and her new album We'll Look for Stars. 

You can hear Canadian Spaces on CKCU-FM 93.1 or www.ckcufm.com... or listen from CKCU's audio archive at https://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/129/48281.html.

Coming Home featured on Sounds Atlantic podcast and The Back 40 radio 

The summer is off to a good start!

Starting at 12:01 am on Friday, July 3, Ron Moores' Sounds Atlantic podcast featuring Steel Rail will be available.

The podcast, titled Episode 91: Back on the rails: Steel Rail Celebrates Coming Home and more (Parts I & II) features a track by track listen to the new SR album along with Dave, Ellen and Lucinda's thoughts on the songs they wrote and what led to the new release after a 15-year hiatus.

The podcast is available wherever  you get your audio releases, including Apple ITunes, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Google "Sounds Atlantic Podcast:"  and find it that way, or check out www.ronmoores.com/podcast. 

Tod, Ellen and Dave will also be featured Saturday, July 4, on Ron's show The Back 40 from noon to 1 p.m. on CKCU 93.1 FM (www.ckcufm.com) in Ottawa.

Steel Rail, Part 2, airs on Ron's show the following week: July 11.

Thanks to Ron, an old friend and longtime supporter. That's him at the Heritage River Festival in Burk's Falls, Ontario, in 1998.

We hope you can tune in!


Getting the word out Off Island 

Thanks to Briana Doyle, who wrote about us and other local musicians finding ways to get their music out during the pandemic. The article appeared in The 1019 Report, a new print-only newspaper distributed off the island of Montreal, so we can't give you many more details, but a photograph of the article is attached.

Briana is a talented musician herself: you can learn about her band The Breeze here.

Thanks, Briana!

Folk DJs: a band's best friend  

We're delighted to see that folk DJs are starting to add songs from the new Steel Rail album to their playlists. Here are some DJs and programs that are now playing songs from Coming Home.

Check out their shows -- they obviously have great taste!

Thanks to all of the above; their support helps us get our music out to the wider world.


New album Coming Home launches today  

Steel Rail is pleased to release Coming Home, the band's fourth album, on May 23, 2020. The CD celebrates a musical friendship that survived a cross-country separation, serious illness and a pandemic-interrupted recording process. 

Coming Home is a musical reunion of sorts, not just for Steel Rail themselves, who are releasing their first new album in 15 years. Bill Garrett, who co-produced the new  CD with Dave, was at the helm when Steel Rail released their first CD, A Thousand Miles of Snow, back in 1995.

Like all three of Steel Rail's earlier albums, Coming Home features 12 tracks that highlight the stellar vocals and striking songwriting of Tod Gorr, Ellen Shizgal and Dave Clarke.

You can read more details about the new album and preview some of the songs here.


At long last -- Coming Home  

In March, we previewed the cover of our new album, Coming Home. We're happy to say that, after a slight delay, the CDs have arrived, just in time for our new official release date of May 23. (What you see above is the inside cover of the album and the credits page.)

Coming Home features 12 songs by Tod, Ellen and Dave (in various combinations) that showcase the folk, bluegrass and country music we all love. 

Please stay tuned for a new page in the Music section that will tell you more about the CD, including how to order it!

Previous events


Steel Rail


Steel Rail - House Concert

Morin Heights, QC

Happy new year, everyone

We're starting 2019 with a chilly flashback -- Tod walking down the centre of a secondary highway in west-central Quebec in what became the cover for our first release, A Thousand Miles of Snow.
A couple of things about the photo, taken by our talented friend Nancy Ackerman. 1. It truly was freezing that early March day near Rigaud. 2. You can faintly see some car headlights materializing over Tod's right shoulder. Several other vehicles, including an 18-wheeler, were dodged before Nancy finally got this shot.
Speaking of releases, we are happy to report that Steel Rail is finally in a studio working on some tracks for our next album. Like A Thousand Miles of Snow, it is being co-produced by our good friend Bill Garrett. We'll keep you posted re: progress as the winter progresses.
In the meantime, all the best for 2019.